Plan to Crack Down on Illegal Sale of Vapes to Teenagers

The UK government is set to announce new measures to clamp down on the illegal sale of e-cigarettes to children. An enforcement squad composed of trading standards officers will be established to conduct test purchases and tackle retailers who sell vapes to individuals aged under 18. The initiative will be backed by £3m of funding.

Health Minister Neil O’Brien is particularly concerned about the increasing popularity of disposable e-cigarettes. NHS statistics for 2021 indicate that e-cigarette use has risen to 9% among England’s 11 to 15-year-olds, up from 6% in 2018. Vaping among 15-year-old girls has risen from 10% to 21% over the same period.

While vaping is seen as less harmful than smoking due to the absence of tobacco, the NHS warns that the health implications of e-cigarettes remain unclear. The vapour from vapes may contain trace amounts of chemicals, including nicotine. The UK Vaping Industry Association has suggested that existing laws on retailers should be better enforced and that the focus should not be placed on packaging.

Public health charity Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) has called for stricter packaging regulations, including plainer packaging that would be less attractive to children. The group has also advocated the introduction of taxation to increase the cost of disposable vapes beyond levels that children can afford. ASH Chief Executive Deborah Arnold welcomed the government’s investment but argued further measures are required. Councils in England have backed keeping vapes out of sight of children in shops and have called for the legal minimum age of 18 to be marked clearly on packaging.

The sale of flavoured vapes has also proved controversial, particularly in the US where former President Donald Trump banned flavoured e-cigarettes, citing concerns over youth use. The Biden administration briefly considered reversing the ban earlier this year but ultimately decided to maintain it. The European Union has also sought to impose restrictions on flavoured tobacco products.

Analysis by the World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that almost 80% of the world’s 1.3bn tobacco users live in low- and middle income countries, and that tobacco use causes 8m deaths worldwide each year. The WHO has called for tighter regulation of e-cigarettes and vapes, warning that they may be a “gateway” to smoking traditional cigarettes.

Drug Testing for Cotinine (Nicotine)

At Zoom Testing, we specialise in providing drug testing kits and professional guidance on identifying various substances of abuse. If you’re looking to test for nicotine consumption resulting from smoking or vaping, we suggest using a reliable urine cotinine test for quick and accurate results. Our test cassette is designed to detect traces of cotinine in urine samples exceeding 100ng, which is the primary metabolite of nicotine. This test can identify nicotine from any source, including smoking, patches, vapes, gums, etc. If you have any inquiries regarding nicotine urine tests or any other drug tests, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Photo by Zoom Testing

Zoom Testing is a leading UK drug testing company and a supplier of Drug Test Kits.

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